Q. My problem concerns treatment not for people but for my little dog. Last year, at 10 years of age, he developed severe separation anxiety. The vets have prescribed Benadryl, Valium, Prozac and phenobarbital over the course of the year. None has helped. We just can't leave him home anymore, which is sometimes inconvenient. I bought St. Johnswort for him, but have not used it. What do you think?
A. We consulted Barbara Simpson, a member of the American College of Veterinary Behavior. She said your dog needs a thorough medical work-up for visual difficulty, hearing problems, cognitive dysfunction or thyroid trouble. Any of these might lead your dog to be agitated when you are not there. Training to desensitize the dog to your leaving can be helpful. Ask your vet to refer you to a specialist in animal behavior.
Also, a prescription medication for canine separation anxiety is awaiting approval at the FDA. St. Johnswort has not been tested in dogs, and we would be reluctant to recommend it.
Q. I have just turned 50 and am trying to keep myself in good shape. I take calcium, magnesium, iron and vitamins. My doctor has prescribed estrogen, progesterone and testosterone to ease menopause, and I also take ginseng and DHEA to increase my energy level and improve my sex drive.
Even with the testosterone and DHEA my libido is not as strong as my husband's. I suspect the progesterone is the problem. Could I substitute herbs like black cohosh or Vitex instead?
A. We are alarmed about your regimen. DHEA is a precursor to testosterone. Added to what you are already taking, it could cause side effects such as an enlarged clitoris, facial hair growth, a deepened voice or high cholesterol.
While it is true that progesterone may have a negative impact on sex drive, the herbs you are considering may not solve your problem. Vitex appears to have progesterone-like activity, and it too can lower libido.
Q. I have had Crohn's disease for 40 years, and during that time I have had a never-ending battle with diarrhea. Lomotil helps some, but it doesn't eliminate the problem.
Three months ago, I bought a box of Archway Coconut Macaroon cookies. I've been eating two a day and I have not experienced diarrhea in that time. If by chance I eat three in a day, I get constipated. Believe me, I have a new life now.
My brother-in-law has a friend who just had cancer and suffered diarrhea as a consequence of the operation. We told him about the cookies and they corrected his diarrhea. I would be delighted if others were helped by my discovery, too.
A. We are puzzled by this home remedy for serious diarrhea. We cannot logically explain why Archway Coconut Macaroons would helpful. They are high in saturated fat and contain modified starch, egg white, soy lecithin, sweeteners and coconut. If anyone can else can duplicate your success we would love to hear about it.
Write to the Graedons in care of The Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore, Md. 21278, or e-mail to pharmacindspring.com.
Pub Date: 12/06/98